How to Conduct an Offering of Letters Forum or Workshop

David Kpan teaches math and science in Wehplay, Liberia. Photo: Laura Pohl/Bread for the World

Educating your congregation or campus on the 2014 Offering of Letters campaign is an important way to build awareness and commitment to advocacy this year. Adult or campus forums, youth group retreats, Sunday school classes, women’s groups events, or other settings are places where you can build excitement and knowledge. A concise presentation, clear instructions on writing letters, and powerful stories will inspire members of your community to join our efforts to reform U.S. food aid.

Here are helpful tips and resources for giving a presentation. Tailor this to the time you have; your Bread for the World organizer can help you decide on goals and outcomes.

In advance:
Prepare any handouts, and consider using the PowerPoint presentation on the DVD included in the Offering of Letters kit to guide your presentation. The PowerPoint file includes talking points for each slide. Be sure to review the PowerPoint presentation and practice delivering it. Introduction: Start with a welcome and prayer. Provide some background about how you came to participate in the Offering of Letters, explain why this forum is important, and talk about what you expect to accomplish.

Background:
If your group is new to Bread and letter-writing, use the first slides in the PowerPoint presentation (slides 2-6) to introduce Bread and the importance of advocacy as a response to hunger. Discuss the biblical grounds for speaking out to leaders about hunger and poverty. If your group already knows Bread, skip those initial slides and move into the Offering of Letters slides (starting at slide 7).

What:
Introduce the topic of Bread for the World's 2014 Offering of Letters: Reforming U.S. Food Aid. Remind participants of the biblical stories in which God provides food to people on journeys or on the margins of society. Show the Offering of Letters video on the DVD in the kit. Describe U.S. food aid programs and Bread’s approach for improving them (pages 4-7 of this kit and slides 9-14 of the PowerPoint). Invite participants to share their own stories about ending hunger.

How and who:
Talk about why hand-written letters will make a difference. Point out which members of Congress in your area are especially important; your Bread organizer can help you identify key leaders. If time permits, write letters during the forum, or let people know when your Offering of Letters will take place. Answer any questions and distribute handouts.

Closing:
Summarize the 2014 Offering of Letters campaign, the ask, and any goals you have for your community's engagement (for example, the number of letters you hope to get). Finish with prayer.

You Did It! Fill out your Offering of Letters feedback form.

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